Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rage Break

I bring you this, for one reason; there are damn few songs that make the hairs on my arm stand up the way this one does:


I have become a Napster subscriber. I used it back in the day when it was, ahem, not (coughs) legit. Now it is though, and it's 10 bux a month, all you can eat. I can get behind that. Since I can't resist a buffet I have embarked on a mission to own Every Song I Have Ever Liked. I've been a member 2 months and I've download almost 20,000 songs so far, approx 1% of Napster's entire library. Over 300 songs a day, average. I am fat and happy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Brian May - Bang!

I recently finished The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. I liked his first book The Elegant Universe more, but that's another story. Plus the title "Fabric of the Cosmos" sounds so Sagan-y. I was looking for more astronomy / physics stuff and I ran across Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, co-written by Brian May. It's only available at, not, I don't know why. I guess I have to pay to have it shipped from England! The book's official site has lots more about the book, including author bios and Q & A.

Power Pop

There's a lot of underground attention to Power Pop in the blog world, and I sort of stay on top of it. There are some bands saying new things, expanding the sound, but it doesn't seem like many are saying anything new. That's partly because the language has already been fleshed out. It's difficult to sound fresh if you don't push the envelope, and sometimes people intentionally DON'T push the envelope because they're right in the pocket they're aiming for. There's so much old stuff that's been forgotten, and some of it is as good or better than what's being released today. I think long ago, the concept was fresh, so it all sounded exciting - e.g. Gary Myrick, Bram Tchaikovsky, Nick Lowe, et al... And there was crap back then, too. Lots of it. I used to scour the cassette and LP cutout bins at drug stores etc. and I bought everything I could afford (all of which I still own), so I can personally attest to that. But one of the best from that era was "So Much For Everylasting Love" by The Sights, a band from So Cal. Released in 1982, it was barely played and quickly discarded, and I've never understood why. This is as close to "Power Pop" perfection (whatever that is, really) as you'll ever hear. The singer sounds a LOT like Peter Case, which leads me to want to suggest you check out The Plimsouls, another CA Power Pop band from the early 80's. Another great band from that era.

Podcast: Radio QRM

Missed this one - from June............

Site. Download.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Melody Search

Every so often I get a melody stuck in my head and I can't place it, which drives me &#%$&% NUTS. There are melody search engines on the internet, but most aren't worth the time - their catalogs are too small or their tools aren't intuitive. The best one I've found so far is Musipedia. I tried the Contour search for a relatively obscure song and it found it. Great, fun site.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Supraluxe and Van Halen


Apparently, Zune BAD. This whole DRM thing is way outa hand. How bad it has to get before everyone realizes the obvious, I don't know.

I can read

I recently finished This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin. Engaging, but not quite all I had hoped. I don't know if it had something to do with the way it was written, or the fact that I already knew much of the subject material, but the high hopes I had that this book might open doors of understanding I wasn't aware of never really materialized. Levitin scratches the skin but never draws blood, which is to say I would have liked more depth of analysis, more studies, more "science". I think this book might be great for someone who hasn't spent their whole life pondering the whys and hows of musical interest and ability, but I have. I really wanted to take a leap forward in understanding, and this book mostly just confirmed what I already knew, although it added a little color and filled in some gaps. I'm probably too close to the subject. Or maybe the problem is that any attempt to demystify music robs a bit of its magic. But the mere fact that there are others who spend their lives thinking about this stuff is comforting, if not particularly enlightening.

On the turntable

I'm never been a big Sinatra fan. I guess I was born after his heyday and I lumped him in with my parent's generation of entertainers. He wasn't "hip" to me; he was always sort of old, ubiquitous and unhip, so I didn't pay much attention to him. Tons of people dig him though, and I've grown to appreciate him somewhat. Anyway, I was reading about his LP "Songs for Swinging Lovers", and the word is that this was his shining moment. The phrasing, the feel and emotion, never better before or since. So I bought it, and.........I get it. I get the phrasing thing - on this record it's so unnatural yet natural at the same time. Very deceptive. And very satisfying.


played Boyfriend again last night.

Windows Vista

Robert Fripp created the startup sound for Windows Vista. Per Microsoft, the sound:

  • is made of dual ascending 'glassy' melodies played on top of a gentle fading Fripp 'AERO' Soundscape
  • has two parallel melodies played in an intentional "Win-dows Vis-ta" rhythm
  • consists of 4 chords, one for each color in the Windows flag
  • is ~4 seconds long, end-to-end
  • is a collaboration between contributors Robert Fripp (primary melody + Soundscape), Tucker Martine (rhythm) and Steve Ball (harmony and final orchestration)

It was our goal for the sounds to be just noticeable enough that if they weren’t there you would miss them, but they’re subtle enough that they don’t get in your way. Just like the visual cues of the new Start button, the audio cues of the new sounds are "rounded" and "translucent." The default sound scheme in Windows Vista is intentionally much gentler and softer than in previous versions.

You can listen to it here.

BTW, Brian Eno created the startup sound for Windows 95. Eno says:

Q: How did you come to compose "The Microsoft Sound"?

A: The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while and was quite lost, actually. And I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem -- solve it."

The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional," this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said "and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long."

I thought this was so funny and an amazing thought to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel.
In fact, I made 84 pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds at the end of this that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were like three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quintessential Player

I used Winamp for nearly 10 years - it came out in 1997. Customizable and compact, but killer bugs finally drove me away. It did not play nice with RAM - leave it paused overnight and check the RAM usage in the morning. Ick. I found a replacement, Quintessential Player. It isn't as flexible as Winamp but there's much less ick. Interestingly (or not) it's been around just as long as Winamp.

Recommended, kids.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Take a minute today and rein it in - consider that there are people who don't have what you have. Everyone has at least one reason to be thankful. Show it. Hug somebody you love. Send them a note. Give them a call.



Monday, November 20, 2006

On the turntable

Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics. Very good, but not as consistent as earlier stuff like The Soft Bulletin. The big bomb is the remake of Bohemian Rhapsody, which is either a bad joke or some inside humor I'm not in on.


I was listening to Drums and Wires today. Every time I put XTC on I think of a drummer I knew back in Fargo, Wally. Wally once told me "XTC supplies all my musical needs". It sounded especially funny coming from a guy with a southern accent. Wally used to watch Mr. Ed reruns on video for like 3 days in a row. Great guy, I miss him.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lesson #1

Never sell your guitars. Over the years I've sold 3 basses. A Gibson G-3, a pink BC Rich Eagle, and a Mosrite. I traded the G-3 in for a BC Rich Mockingbird (that I still have). I really miss that G-3. G-3 prices have gone up ever since what's-his-name from Green Day picked one up, and there weren't a whole lot of 'em made and that doesn't help either. At present I own a Fender Precision, a Fender Jazz fretless, a Steinberger, and the Mockingbird (which, by the way, is a shorthorn, relatively rare). Each bass has a story, but that's for another day. I'm tired.



Timeline / LSL Interview

Hard to say when then next set of songs will be out. We have enough songs for the 2nd CD, and we will soon begin construction of our studio. That could take a while. How long, who knows? Once that's done we can BEGIN recording. That will also take a while. Again how long, again who knows? My best guess is late next year earliest.

In the meantime, realizing that's a long time to go between fixes, we'll trickle out some other song snippets or outtakes or whatnot. And along those lines, here's a clip Bob and I did a while back. We were asked to provide some commentary about our recording technique (laff - what recording technique?). We just turned the mic on one night and started babbling. Bob took an extract of Love Sweet Love to accompany it and voila. It's actually kind of cool. Oddly, the guy we sent it too didn't like it and wouldn't play it. Not techie enough I guess. Whatever.

Judge for yourself.

Amazon Sales Rank

Our Music Sales Rank: #236,946. LOL.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

On the turntable

Friday, November 17, 2006

Trunk Monkey

World of B

Brandon Boxey, Huge Current Fan. B condenses the songs he likes in Best-Of lists by month. Flower made #2 for August.

Small World

I wrote a note to Pedro (presumably in Madrid), to thank him for his nice words about Marmalade. I wrote it in English and ran it through an online translator, which hopefully didn't leave the message too garbled and unintelligible. Why I'm telling you this...It's amazing on a couple of levels - amazing that someone in another part of the world has access to our music, that I can run his words through a translator and understand them, that I can do the same thing in reverse to say thanks. That stuff is endlessly fascinating to me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Podcast: AC Sound Engineering

JR -> JR

Jim recently turned me on to Josh Rouse. This has made me very happy.

On the turntable

Andy Williams, Almost There.

Wiki entry.

Official Site.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There are no...

...three legged animals.

On the turntable

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Except in rare instances, nobody ever looks at anyone else and thinks "That person is due for a haircut" or "Gee, that new haircut looks great". Unless you're a stylist, you probably don't look at haircuts as having potential, you assume they look exactly as the wearer intends. Which means when I'm overdue for a trim people must think I want my head to look like a football.

Monday, November 13, 2006

On the turntable


I ran into local humor columnist, fellow Fargo alum and occasional political bloviator James Lileks the other day. I run into him every couple months. No, we're not friends, not acquaintances. Never spoken to him, wouldn't know what I'd say if I did, so I don't bother. Anyway, I had my daughter with me to pick up some Chinese from the local eatery down the street. Lileks is there with his head in a book, waiting for his order. But something wasn't quite right. People don't bring books with them into restaurants when they're ordering for takeout. So I sensed he wasn't reading at all, but listening - that the book was a prop, or a safety net to shield himself from a potentially awkward social situation. My girl was interested in the Chinese zodiac or whatever they call it, each year is assigned an animal, and she mentioned that she's a Dragon. She asked what Mommy was, I told her. Not long after that, our order was up. The woman called me by name "Mr. Pearson" - we eat there a lot - I paid and we were off. (BTW - some time ago I asked her her name - she told me, and I couldn't understand her. I asked her to repeat it, she did, and I still didn't understand. I asked one more time, she said it again, and I realized it wasn't going to get any better so I quit trying. I just call her "Mrs. Kwan", but not to her face.) Next day I go to Lilek's "bleat" and see he's ruminated about his little Chinese experience. My daughter and I make a cameo.

Band Names

Today on The Current I heard a new song I liked. As I waited for it to end so Mary Lucia would tell me who it was I found myself hoping it was a "band" and not just some guy, some solo artist. For some reason I find the idea of a "band" more appealing, I think because groups of people seem more dimensional, to have greater depth than solo artists. I don't have any weight of fact to attribute this idea to, it just seems that way.

We've been Innertoobed


Tokyo enters the KIAC Big Fifty.

Current Yet Again

Got another spin on The Current 11/7:

Latest Podcasts

I don't know much about, I think it's some kind of automatically-generated aggregate site or something. But apparently we've hit the big time because we're listed. But the funny thing is the links for "related" products and services at the bottom - "Jam Jelly Recipes" - "Sunset Grill Restaurant"......

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hi, Madrid

We have fans in Spain (and England, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, Japan & others, which is a constant source of amazement to me). A Spanish blogger named Pedro recently posted this on the Blog of Pedro.

"Marmalade" de Supraluxe; una canción perfecta

por: Pedro · 10 Nov 2006

No hay comentarios - escribe el tuyo

Al cabo del año escuchamos miles de nuevas canciones, muchas de ellas magníficas, otras no tanto y entre todas ellas de vez en cuando surge una canción perfecta, una auténtica maravilla que debería figurar en las enciclopedias y en las revistas de turno, pero que, por desgracia, casi siempre pasa desapercibida.

Este es el caso de la canción "Marmalade" del grupo de Minneapolis Supraluxe, desde su comienzo te engancha con esos arpegios de guitarra acústica y el sonido de los dedos resbalando por las cuerdas, la entrada a continuación de la batería y el bajo marcando al unísono el ritmo y jugueteando con esos arpegios, después la maravillosa voz del cantante a lo Norman Blake (se le escucha hasta coger aliento), la perfecta textura de los teclados, y el broche final un punteo de guitarra apasionado con un pequeño toque de Wah Wah en su parte final, de los mejores que he escuchado este año.

Tremebundo medio tiempo recomendadísimo para amantes de TFC; si quereis podeis escucharla - aquí; pero lo malo es que no está entera en su página, buscad en otras.

......Which, roughly translated, is this:

"Marmalade " of Supraluxe; a perfect song

for: Pedro · On November 10, 2006

There are no comments - yours writes

After the year we listen to thousands of new songs, many of magnificent them, different not so much and between all of them occasionally a perfect song arises, a certification astonishes that it should appear in the encyclopedias and in the magazines of shift, but that, unfortunately, almost always unnoticed raisin.

This is the case of the song " Marmalade " of the group of Minneapolis Supraluxe, from his beginning it hooks you with these arpeggioes of acoustic guitar and the sound of the fingers slipping for the ropes, the entry next of the battery and under marking to the unison the rhythm and playing with these arpeggioes, later the wonderful voice of the singer like Norman Blake (he is listened up to taking breath), the perfect texture of the keyboards, and the final brooch a plucking of guitar excited with a small touch of Wah Wah in his final part, of better that I have listened to this year.

Terrible half time recomendadísimo for lovers of TFC; if you want you can listen to her - here; but the bad thing is that it is not entire on his page, look in others.

Supraluxe in Arabic


Thanks AJ!

On the turntable

Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire
Art Tatum - Solo Masterpieces
Broken Social Scene - Feel Good Lost
Brahms - String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51 (piano arrangement)
Doves - Some Cities
Mendelssohn - Octet in E flat Major, Op. 20
The Cure - Pornography